ARIZONA – Arizona offers homeowners little protection from bad HOAs, managers
Arizona’s nearly 9,000 homeowners associations go virtually unregulated even as they hold immense power over their residents.
While they’re responsible for annoying but trivial matters such as dictating paint colors and enforcing landscaping requirements, these HOAs also manage large sums of money and can foreclose on homeowners.
Unlike other industries that operate within the confines of state or federal rules, Arizona’s HOAs operate with few checks and balances.
- The people who serve on HOA boards and make all of the community decisions — including the cost of dues and how that revenue will be spent — are homeowner volunteers who need not receive any training on finance or budgets.
- The professionals whom HOA boards hire to help manage their communities are not required to be licensed or have any specific training.
- The financial documents that detail how HOAs spend the sometimes millions of dollars they collect from homeowners each year are not publicly reported.
“Homeowners associations really are privatized government without accountability. We can control everything from what you paint your home to when you cut your yard, but we aren’t accountable to you and don’t have to respond to you,” said Phoenix lawyer Jon Dessaules, who represents homeowners in lawsuits against HOAs.
As a result, homeowners are left with little recourse when an HOA decides to take their home, or a management company embezzles hundreds of thousands of dollars intended to repair roads or replace roofs.
Some housing advocates are pushing for reforms — and more oversight. But most of their efforts have found little traction. Read more: